Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Flying the Hump"-- Part 1: Not Designed, Heavier Loads, Worse Weather


This past week I have been writing about Ray "Pops" Merrick and his role in "Flying the Hump" during World War II.  Most Americans have not even ever heard of "The Hump."

From the April 10, 2017, Inside Science  "Flying the Hump: 75 Years Later" by Joel Shurkin.

In April 1940, a few short months after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military began a mission that tested the technical capabilities of its aircraft and the courage of its personnel.  The mission was designed to supply otherwise isolated Chinese forces and civilians after the Japanese cut off the only land-based supply route through Burma.  It was called "Flying the Hump."

Sometimes scientific and technological advances can win a war, like in the case of the atom bomb.  But "Flying the Hump" owes its success primarily on the courage and imagination of the American forces there.

The Himalaya Mountains, the world's tallest,  ran through what was called the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI) during World War II.    The men who crossed those mountains did so in planes not designed to fly that high, carrying loads heavier than they were designed to carry, in weather no one was supposed to fly through.

--GreGen

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